Tag Archives: winter

Wonderland :: CT

20 Feb
Wonderland :: CT

Wonderland :: CT

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus

Windswept :: Scotland

20 Feb
Windswept :: Scotland

Windswept :: Scotland

“When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” -African proverb

I went to Scotland with a long list of spots I wanted to see, knowing of course, that I’d only actually get to photograph a handful.  One of those “spots” was the drive through Rannoch Moor, which is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful drives on the planet. ❤

Best Of 2016

28 Dec

 

2016 was a year of photographic growth for me.  I set several technical goals for myself as a way of pushing myself to be consistently better at my craft, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.  I’ll admit, it was often a mix of trial and error (a lot of error), persistence, and supportive people around me but I feel like I made a noticeable difference in the quality of my images.

This year, I made a consistent effort to focus stack where appropriate, to really keep an eye on my histogram so that I wasn’t shooting 12 frames when I really needed 1 or 2, and I tried improving both my night sky/milky way techniques and lightning images.  Those in-the-field efforts are represented in this “Best of…” gallery.

 

I’ve also grown in the editing arena, an area we can always work on, no matter how accomplished we are.  I feel like my ability to *see* the weak areas of a raw image, and my ability to enhance the light in a positive way with my edits has grown immeasurably.  Again, this was a matter of practice, feedback and support from my peers.  I’m particularly proud of my Opal Creek wilderness forest shot, as it involved some creative shaping of the light.

 

The winter image in the gallery was a conscious attempt to force myself out of hibernation.  Apparently, I need to do that more often – turns out winter light is lovely! Lol

And finally, the biggest reason I chose all of these images was the LIFE they represent.

I suspect it’s human nature to take things for granted – we developed our ability to tune things out as part of our survival mechanisms (because how could our ancestors focus on important things like hunting and gathering if they were constantly distracted by…oh, the wind!  Oh, shiny rock! Oh, noise!  Oh, a bird!  What was I doing again??).  Therefore, it takes a conscious effort to remember to appreciate the blessings in our life.

 

Write that life lesson down, folks.  It’s particularly important in the relationships you hold dear.

So where am I going with this?  Well, I’m an American woman.  Currently, that means the law considers me to be a person with inherent rights, one of which is the ability to obtain resources and pursue my life aspirations.  On the whims of fate, I was born here.  I am not viewed as property, or less than human.  I have the stability provided by a nation dedicated to protecting our freedoms.  I am educated.  Compared to so many places in the world, I grew up like a queen – I had food, clean water, health care, and never had the threat of war, unrest and violence looming on my doorstep every day.  Although America isn’t perfect, I am GRATEFUL every day for the progressive ideas that surrounds me.  As a country we can always improve.  We are but a nation of flawed humans afterall, and will always have room to be better versions of ourselves…. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t already holding the human rights bar pretty high and I desperately hope we continue to do so abundantly, and equally across the country.

Because I was blessed be born in a place that respects my rights and raised to believe in pursuing my dream (so much thanks to my family for always inspiring and encouraging me), I have seen and experienced SO MUCH JOY all in pursuit of a photograph.  I have traveled to places that have stolen my breath.  I have met some incredibly interesting, funny and supportive people who are a constant source of light in my life.  I have taken chances that have fed my soul.

 

In 2016, I was able to see the forest and seascapes (and….uh…wildlife) of Oregon and Northern California, the towering waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, try out the delightful food trucks in Portland and have my heart swell at the beauty of the Steens Mountains and the Alvord desert.  I soaked in a hot spring, while smiling with strangers.  I sat under the stars with friends, and pretended to play a violin under the Milky Way.  I explored NY and much of New England.  I was assaulted by a frog near the Adirondacks, got to see bald eagles in Acadia, the wild ponies on Assateague and black bears in Shenandoah.

I have taught photography students and built friendships around the world through Light & Landscape (thanks for that opportunity Matt!), I wrote another photography book with my business-partner-in-not-crime David, I was blessed to photograph weddings for some amazing couples with my other business-partner-in-not-crime Melissa, worked with one of this year’s 40 under 40 winners (you rock, Fitz!), refined my inner photo-journalist with freelance assignments through the newspaper (shout out to Jared and the staff at the paper for the feedback and encouragement), and saw AMAZING shows / met some wonderful musicians during my nights as a concert photographer (so much thanks to the venue, Kathy, Pat and Angelo).

 

In short, I have the freedom to LIVE THE LIFE I WANT and these photos represent the landscape side of that.  They are a reminder to be THANKFUL EVERY DAY.

Remember to count your blessings often, and appreciate the people and things that enrich your lives.  Dwell on the positive, and embrace GRATITUDE instead of criticism. Open your heart to the people that care and the endless possibilities in front of you.  Take chances, even knowing you may fail….failure can generally be overcome, but you’ll never get back the time you waste on “What ifs”.  Travel as often as you are able to responsibly do so, so that you can learn about the magical places in the world….how else will you learn to cherish and protect them?  As you travel near or far, make sure to appreciate that you have the ability to do so.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017!

Winds of Winter

3 Feb
Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

This was one of those beautiful, chaotic moments in nature where you feel both overwhelmed and at peace with the colors, textures and the cold breath of the season.  Mother Nature is truly an artist.

This image is also a prime example of why I love clouds and sky texture so damn much. 🙂

Winter Solstice

22 Dec
Solstice

Solstice

This past weekend was the solstice for 2014, and we finally got a taste of winter.  Ice, snow and brrrrrrrrrrrr (cold)!  Sure did make for a nice hike and some pretty pictures though. 🙂

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far!

xo

Shannon

Winter Wonderland

18 Dec
Diana's Pool :: CT

Diana’s Pool :: CT

This time of year, photography time is at a premium.  The sun isn’t up for very long before I leave for the day job, and it’s down before I’m done with work.  Furthermore, winter hasn’t quite arrived yet….but I’m pining for some snow photos.

 

Today, I’m pulling one from the archives to share with you.  Hopefully that will tide me over until the snow arrives here in CT.  Hope you enjoy! 🙂

 

xo

Shannon

 

(Wintery) Mixed Feelings

5 Mar
The Road Home

The Road Home

See what I did there??  Wintery mix? Get it??

Well, we’ve made it to March.  Spring is just around the corner.  I mean, it’s still 5 degrees out, but officially we have less than 20 days left of winter and I honestly can not wait for warmer weather.  I mean…Northern lights, Iceland, dog sledding…they’re all on the to-do list.  But with none of those being in my immediate future, the next best thing would be a few 60 degree days.  Please and thank you.

So…where do the mixed feelings come in?  New England can be so dang quaint in the winter.

Wrapped in Soft Silence

Wrapped in Soft Silence

The first photo is a pretty typical scene around these parts.  Old tobacco sheds are found all over the top half of the state, and when I stumbled (aka, took an adventure-drive) on the scene, it immediately felt like home.

The second photo is from what I like to remember as Narnia-Day.  It was our first snow fall of the year, and it was one of those soft, gentle falls that feels like you’re walking through a Walt Whitman poem.  Or the Wardrobe.  If I were in a movie (other than a CS Lewis flick), I would look up at the falling snow, with my hands in the air while the camera spun around me, focusing on the snowflakes landing in my eyelashes.  Yeah, it was that kind of day.

So, until we start to see a few warmer days, which…did I mention…I’m looking forward to?…then I will try to remember to appreciate the beauty (and the hot cocoa) of the hardest season of the year.  Now, move over Starks!  Spring is coming.

Pennies Add Up

6 Feb
Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

Winter is fully upon us, and life has been 100% getting in the way of shooting.  I am actually planning, weather permitting, to finally get out and shoot today.  Forecast?…more snow photos are in your future. haha

Care

In the meantime, I’ve spent my time editing my photos from Peru, trying to finish up that folder so I can make some use of the images I shot.  At the moment, my plan is to submit them for publication….so you can’t see most of them yet. haha  But trust me, they are awesome.

I’ve also spent some time “house keeping”, so to speak.  I’ve had a lot of little things to do, and no time to do them.  One of those many things was making a donation to CARE.org….YOUR donation, in fact.  For those of you who spent a little time shopping in my store…well, clap yourselves on the back.  You did a great thing.  Not only did you get something purty to hang on your wall (or an awesome mug to drink out of, or a card for your friends…etc) but you made a difference in someone’s life.

Karma points, in da bank!

So, many thanks to all of you for helping me make the goal of a donation to the Philippines a reality.  I could not possibly have done so without your support.  You Rock!

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read up on the project here.  Also, if you haven’t already done so, please follow me on my FB page, where you can timely updates on the things happening with SSP….the movin’ and the shakin’.

xoxo

Shannon

Still Reflections, Winter’s Breath

22 Jan
Reflection

Reflection

It’s 6 degrees out, this morning.  We had some snow fall last night.  The roads are slippery and a bit dangerous…but the woods?  They’re perfect.

New England’s snowy skies rarely have much in the way of interest or detail, despite this being taken close to the end of the day.  There was no color, only leaden gray mixed with spots of white.  There were a few hints of yellow-brown on the trees, and some red silt at the edges of the water near the shallows…but rather than act as an accent, it seemed distracting.  I decided to black and white it.

The view, overall, is pretty standard for winter around here but the thing that attracted me to this particular scene is the solid reflection and the natural leading line it created from the corner of the frame.  Since I tend to be a symmetry person, I really wanted to wade into the center of the slow-moving winter stream and re-compose, but I didn’t have waterproof boots or waders.  Also, just outside of the frame where I would have stood, was a dangerous slippery spot that would have tumbled me down a little set of cascades.  haha  Hypothermia is a maybe, but ruining my camera is a definite no.

Shooting With Purpose

17 Dec
Snow Bound

Snow Bound

I’m going to start this photo blog post out with a horse reference…  Makes perfect sense, right?

Picture yourself walking on an idyllic horse farm in Kentucky.  Crisp white board fences, manicured fields and paths, and running around inside those fences is a group of young race horses.  (Thoroughbreds, for those of you in the know.) They’re delicate, yet powerful.  Their hair shines in the sun and a cool breeze lifts their manes and tails, so they float in the air, giving the horses an air of magic.  One of them lifts his chiseled face from the grass and looks your way, and you almost drown in the liquid softness of his eyes.  That kind of horse makes a statement.

Now, picture yourself on a farm wading through ankle deep mud and a cloud of black flies.  To your left is a red, dilapidated barn, the paint is peeling and the roof is caving in.  To your right is a huge, clunky beast – a draft horse – standing 1.5 times taller than you, with dinner plates for feet and a matted, tangled mane and clipped off tail.  He is powerful, my god is he powerful, but refined…no?  Elegant?  Absolutely not.  Then again, he doesn’t need to be.  He wasn’t bred for speed or beauty (though I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder).  He was bred to work.

Two very different animals, the Thoroughbred and the draft horse, but both serve a purpose.

In photo-land, you also have your statement shots and you have your work horse shots.  Your statement shots are the one that catch people’s eye, that whisper to their soul (hopefully whispering, “Buy me”) and help you build your brand.  On the other hand, your work horse shots are meant to build your wallet.  They are the images you take with a purpose in mind, to license, to use in products, marketing, etc etc.  The photo at the top of the post, that’s a work horse.

Currently, I have an online store and a a series of free images available on my Facebook page, and when I’m out shooting, those projects are always at the back of my mind.

Free Facebook Banner - Autumn Reflections

Free Facebook Banner – Autumn Reflections

This photo – taken in October in Granby, CT – is one of many, many work horse images in my portfolio.  When I took it, I knew the sky was a bit lackluster, but the crisp reflection in the swampy water were stunning.  (That’s all part of training your eyes to see the beauty in a scene, even if the scene as a whole isn’t breath-taking.)  Now, over the last few years, I’ve put together a series of banners for anyone who follows my FB page *hint hint*, which only utilize a narrow band within the image.  That made this autumn photo a prime candidate for one of my freebies.

As for the winter scene at the top?  That is already getting a lot of mileage.  When I went out shooting that snowy day, I knew I needed more winter scene images to put together “holiday products” for the store.  Know of any ladies looking for a pretty new wristlet? 😉

Wristlet - www.zazzle.com/skalahan

Wristlet – http://www.zazzle.com/skalahan

UPDATES!

The fundraiser for the typhoon victims is done!  Many thanks for everyone who helped by spreading the word, making a purchase, or donating directly to your relief organization of choice!  Also a big thanks to all of the small businesses who added their own donations to the pot.  There is strength in numbers, and I’m so proud to be a part of community efforts like this.

Also, if you’re interested in joining our fun little Winter Photo Challenge, email me your final photo by December 21!  Hope you can join us!